Suicide intervention practices: What is being used by mental health clinicians and mental health allies?

Rozek, D. C., Tyler, H., Fina, B. A., Baker, S. N., Moring, J. C., Smith, N. B., Baker, J. C., Bryan, A. O., Bryan, C. J., & Dondanville, K. A.
Jul 7, 2023

Archives of Suicide Research, 27(3), 1034-1046.

Objective: Implementation of evidence-based suicide prevention is critical to prevent death by suicide. Contrary to previously held beliefs, interventions including contracting for safety, no-harm contracts, and no-suicide contracts are not best practices and are considered contraindicated. Little is known about the current use of best practices and contraindicated interventions for suicide prevention in community settings.
Methods: Data were collected from 771 individuals enrolled in a suicide prevention training. Both mental health clinicians (n = 613) and mental health allies (e.g., teachers, first responders) (n = 158) reported which best practices (i.e., safety plan, crisis response plan) and contraindicated interventions (i.e., contracting for safety, no-harm contract, no-suicide contract) they use with individuals who presents with risk for suicide.
Results: The majority of both mental health clinicians (89.7%) and mental health allies (67.1%) endorsed using at least one evidence-based practice. However, of those who endorsed using evidence-based interventions, ∼40% of both mental health clinicians and allies endorsed using contraindicated interventions as well.
Conclusion: Contraindicated interventions are being used at high rates and suicide prevention trainings for evidence-based interventions should include a focus on de-implementation of contraindicated interventions. This study examined only a snapshot of what clinicians and allies endorsed using. Additional in depth information about each intervention and when it is used would provide helpful information and should be considered in future studies. Future research is needed to ensure only evidence-based interventions are being used to help prevent death by suicide.